Saturday 19 June 2021

Election Watch: De Jonge ready to serve again as health minister

Photo: ANP/ Marco de Swart

Health minister Hugo de Jonge has said he would accept the job again if his party, the Christian Democrats, stays in government after the election.

De Jonge stood down as leader of the CDA in January and withdrew as a candidate for the election next March, in order to concentrate on the coronavirus pandemic. De Jonge has been criticised for the slow start to the vaccination programme and unfulfilled promises on issues such as tracker apps

In an interview with Trouw, De Jonge, who will keep his post in the caretaker government until the next cabinet is formed, said he would accept the job again if offered: ‘If you’re asking me now then yes, I’m available.’

De Jonge said the coronavirus crisis had exposed the weaknesses in the decentralised healthcare system and promised to reduce competition between care providers. ‘The market can’t solve these problems, that’s one of the lessons of the coronavirus crisis,’ he said.

Both the CDA and the right-wing liberal VVD are committed to promoting more co-operation and less competition in healthcare, after years in which market forces were seen as the best guarantee of efficiency and value for money.

‘We need far more central direction in health. The almost total lack of it is one of the most unwieldy aspects of our healthcare system, especially in a crisis. I’m not talking about people, but about the structures,’ De Jonge said.


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